I decided to listen to my scriptures today instead of reading the paper copies. So I sat here at my computer, eating, crocheting, and listening. It’s rare that the ending of these three activities coincides, so I kept listening (to music) while I finished one crocheted item . . . and started another.
As usual I was also pondering something at the same time–the good old question I always ponder these days. Should I become a writer? Or rather, should I pursue publishing?
I usually come to this conclusion: yes. Until it becomes clear that I should quit I will continue.
However, this question was brought more poignantly to my attention yesterday in church when our high council speaker mentioned a scripture that has great significance to me.
D&C Section 24
7) For thou shalt devote all thy service in Zion; and in this thou shalt have strength.
8) Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days.
9) And in temporal labors thou shalt not have strength, for this is not thy calling. Attend to thy calling and thou shalt have wherewith to magnify thine office, and to expound all scriptures, and continue in laying on of the hands and confirming the churches.
I happened to read those verses and was filled with peace and decision. I was able to renounce my consuming desire. I never got another opportunity to perform in a ballet, but I wasn’t significantly disappointed.
Within the year I was called as an ordinance worker in the Provo temple, and the next year, in the Mt. Timpanogos Temple. I believe that calling fulfilled a promise in my Patriarchal Blessing.
Fast forward several years.
In December 2012 I finished writing my first book. J Scott Savage told me that everyone who writes a book thinks their first one is terrific. It took a while to convince myself that my book was probably not an exception to his observation. Even though I loved it, and still think it has some really good stuff in it, the underwhelming response of my “beta” readers (I think that’s what they’re called) was evidence to me that there was no clamor for my writing.
My wildest dream at that time was to have a hardback book with a colorful, pick-me-up-and-buy-me dust jacket distributed throughout the USA. My friends would read it and say, “That’s me!” But when it became clear that the book wasn’t going to fulfill my dream and that the electronic world would likely scuttle the dream anyway, I was able to lay the dream on a shelf and walk away from it. No regrets. I’m a little surprised because that WAS my wildest dream.
It’s difficult to explain the difference between giving up and renouncing. I don’t think I’ve fully given up on publishing. I rarely give up on pursuits even though I think and talk about it a lot. While there’s life, there’s hope–I always come back fighting.
Until it’s time to renounce the thing.
I don’t know if I’m at the renouncing phase of writing yet. Part of me says, “I hope not. I’ve just laid out a non-refundable fortune for writing seminars that are supposed to help me get my foot in the door of the publishing world.” But if it turns out that renouncement is imminent (I won’t be surprised if it’s on its way) it’s OK. I mean, it’s only money, and frankly, my time is more valuable to me.
I’m still having lots of ideas about my writing which is a sign it’s still the thing to do.
I also wonder if my writing is doing something that’s helping someone else. By attending these conferences I may be providing others with a service opportunity–as was the case at last year’s LDS Storymakers Conference. You never know what’s going on behind the scenes.
Back to what I mentioned earlier. I was pondering. It occurred to me that my humanitarian service is not only fulfilling another wildest dream (didn’t realize I had more than one superlative dream–in fact these days I call them wildish dreams) but is also a fulfillment of another promise in my patriarchal blessing.
I’ve got to admit, I don’t know how it all works out. My less-wild-but-very-great desire is to do what God wants me to do. I know it will be beyond imagining. Even though so many of my hopes are disappointed I know all will be made beyond right.
In the meantime, I learn a lot. And I write a lot. And I sew a lot. I go to bed late and tired and I start each succeeding day a little behind on my rest. I rarely catch up.
I’m unsure but I’m at peace. I love the divine paradox of being both insecure and secure at the same time. I can live with that.